Lynn Arner

Faculty of Humanities

Lynn Arner

English Language & Literature

Associate Professor

Office: GLN 140
Phone: 905.688.5550 x 5673


Ph.D., English, University of Rochester
Graduate Certificate in Gender and Women's Studies, University of Rochester
M.A., English, University of Rochester
M.A., English, University of Manitoba
B.A., English, McMaster University


Areas of Specialization:

     Lynn Arner is trained in late medieval English literature, critical theory, British cultural studies, feminist theory, and gender studies. She has recently started working in Critical University Studies as well.

     Professor Arner's book, Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising: Poetry and the Problem of the Populace after 1381  (Penn State University Press, 2013), examines the transmission of Greco-Roman and European literature into English during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, while literacy was burgeoning among men and women from the nonruling classes. This dissemination offered a radically democratizing potential for accessing, interpreting, and deploying learned texts. Focusing primarily on an overlooked sector of Chaucer’s and Gower’s early readership, namely, the upper strata of nonruling urban classes, Professsor Arner argues that Chaucer’s and Gower’s writings engaged in elaborate processes of constructing cultural expertise. These writings helped define gradations of cultural authority, determining who could contribute to the production of legitimate knowledge and granting certain socioeconomic groups political leverage in the wake of the English Rising of 1381. Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising simultaneously examines Chaucer’s and Gower’s negotiations—often articulated at the site of gender—over poetics and over the roles that vernacular poetry should play in the late medieval English social formation. This study investigates how Chaucer’s and Gower’s texts positioned poetry to become a powerful participant in processes of social control.

     Professor Arner  is currently writing a theoretically informed book on working-class women in the professoriate in contemporary Canada and the U.S. She is also writing articles on civility in late medieval England.

     Preceding her appointment at Brock, Professor Arner held a visiting faculty post at the University of Pittsburgh. She is originally from southwestern Ontario.


Selected Recent Publications:


Chaucer, Gower, and the Vernacular Rising: Poetry and the Problem of the Populace after 1381. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press (2013).

Work in Progress: Gender and Class in the Professoriate


Edited Collections

Guest Editor, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 19.1 (Spring 2007).

"Feminism and the Academy: A Panel Discussion," edited by Lynn Arner and Katherine French. Medieval Feminist Forum 29 (Spring 2000): 8-32.



Work in Progress: Tracking in the Professoriate

"Chaucer and the Moving Image in Pre-World War II America." In Screening Chaucer, edited by Tison Pugh and Kathleen Kelly. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2016. [forthcoming]

"Working-Class Women on the Tenure Track." In Staging Women's Lives: Gendered Life Stages in Language and Literature Workplaces, edited by Michelle Masse and Nan Bauer-Maglin. SUNY Feminist Theory and Criticism Series. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2016. [forthcoming]

"Survival Strategies for Working-Class Women as Junior Faculty Members." In Working in Class: Recognizing How Social Class Shapes Our Academic Work, edited by Allison L. Hurst and Sandi K. Nenga, 54-71. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

"Working-Class Women at the MLA Interview." Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge 27 (2014), Special Issue: "Working-Class Academics: Theories, Mythologies, Realities";

"Civility and Gower's Visio Anglie." Accessus: A Journal of Premodern Literature and New Media 1.1 (2013);

Introduction, Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 19.1 (Spring 2007): 1-15. Reprinted in Medieval Feminist Forum 43.1 (Summer 2007): 108-125.

"Trust No Man But Me: Women in Chaucer's Short Poetry." In Approaches to Teaching Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and the Shorter Poems, edited by Angela Jane Weisl and Tison Pugh, 71-75. New York: Modern Language Association, 2007.

"The Ends of Enchantment: Colonialism and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 48:2 (Summer 2006): 79-101.

"History Lessons from the End of Time: Gower and the English Rising of 1381." Clio: A Journal of Literature, History and the Philosophy of History 31 (2002): 237-255.

"Studied Indifference: Institutional Problems for Feminist Medievalists." Medieval Feminist Forum 29 (Spring 2000): 8-12.


Blog Posts

 "Why do we care more about Chaucer than Gower?" January 3, 2015;


Sample Courses:

Graduate Courses:

Chaucer & the Beginnings of English Literature

Theoretical Foundations


Undergraduate Courses:

Feminist and Gender Theory

Medieval English Literature and Social Control

Medieval English Literature: Texts & Conquests


Structuralist & Post-Structuralist Theory

Introduction to Literary Theory


Professor Arner welcomes supervisions for graduate-level major research papers in the following areas: Chaucer; late medieval literature; late medieval English social and cultural history; critical university studies; gender and contemporary American culture; class and contemporary American culture; topics in feminist and queer theory; and topics structured by British Cultural Studies, Marxist cultural theory, or psychoanalysis.


portrait of Lynn Arner

Departmental Events

ESA Career Night
February 4, 2016 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm